[NetBehaviour] email about "prevent"

Michael Szpakowski szpako at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 30 18:31:04 CEST 2016

It is a compulsory duty on all working in education in the UK to report to the authorities concerns about vaguely defined signs of "radicalisation" ie. to spy on their students.
It is clearly directed principally against Muslims but the examples I give in my letter show that it is also open to use against others who might fall under the wide ranging definition.It is presented by its supporters as a values neutral attempt to take on all 'extremism'  -an example they are particularly fond of quoting is that of right wing extremism, a new discovery for the powers that be who showed no interest in any Prevent strategy when
the Admiral Duncan Pub in London was bombed by a right wing homophobe in 1999 killing three and injuring 70 or indeed when Anders Breivik conducted his mass killing spree in Norway.The counterpart to 'extremism' in the government narrative is 'British values'  a concept in itself racist but additionally laughable given Britain's colonial and racist history up to and including the cheerleading for and participation in the invasions of Iraq and the intervention in Libya, both of which have had disastrous consequences as you know. However one doesn't have to accept all this to feel profoundly uneasy about prevent as I explain in my mail - I deliberately quoted two "establishment sources" who have expressed fears -clearly justifiable -that Prevent is both alienating Moslems and stoking up Islamophobia.Here's is a very good forensic examination form the website of the UCU left  -the activist wing of the university lecturers union:

      From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
 To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at netbehaviour.org> 
 Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2016 5:03 PM
 Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] email about "prevent"

from what I gather, I agree; can you say more, for the non-British on the 
list, exactly what Prevent is? racial profiling in schools?

thanks, Alan

On Sat, 30 Apr 2016, ruth catlow wrote:

> Hi Michael,
> I appreciate your response to this process, and for highlighting so clearly
> what is at stake. I no longer hold a permanent post in a Higher Education
> institution but have been shocked to read in the press, and to hear from
> those of my peers who do, about increasing pressure to monitor and report
> (and so impinge on the freedom of expression of) learners. This is part of a
> wider threat (along with the tactics of the gutter press) to the development
> of the critical and discursive faculties in the UK public at large.
> Sigh!
> Ruth
> On 29/04/16 20:27, Michael Szpakowski wrote:
>      Hi all
>      the college where I teach has enthusiastically taken to heart
>      the government's Islamophobic "prevent" strategy. Last week they
>      made it compulsory for every further education student to attend
>      ( and I am not making this up) a puppet show about "prevent" and
>      put pressure on HE lecturers to pressure their students to
>      attend.
>      In response I sent I sent a carefully worded e mail to our
>      management and copied in the UCU  ( the lecturers union)
>      membership and my students too, whom I regard, perhaps
>      unfashionably, as being capable of making their own minds up
>      about things.
>      I have now been summoned to a meeting with HR and a senior
>      manager.
>      I am chronicling events on Flickr. I would really appreciate
>      support - at the moment simply in terms of favouriting and
>      commenting upon the posts but it could well come to some sort of
>      campaign if they attempt to discipline me. Here's my original
>      email:
>      https://www.flickr.com/photos/szpako/26601297832/
> and here's the latest exchange:
> https://www.flickr.com/photos/szpako/26716002535/
> please feel free to circulate this
> many thanks
> michael
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